Sunday, May 13, 2012

A fresh approach

The Souparnika Art Gallery in Manipal founded by K. Surendran Nair has interesting ventures for art appreciators

Photo Courtesy: Karishma Hansen
The boundless borders of art captivate our minds. With simple strokes and mesmerising colours, art has its own way of enlightening lives. The new insight it provides to the viewer could be the real realm that enables the art to be a regenerator of community.

Souparnika Art Gallery in Manipal lives up to such expectations. Within its small space dedicated to paintings, sculptures and various other art forms, the gallery offers an avenue for art lovers of the city to explore its various dimensions.

No conventional drawing classes here

Being a place that welcomes all, even the uninitiated, the gallery does not have the the haughty air of playing art promoter.

Founder K. Surendran Nair has been a sculptor and painter in Ajman Fort and Museum for the past twenty years. He believes art to be the perfect way to expose the best in man. He believes in maintaining the rhythm of the body and finds art as a means towards this end. The gallery intends to shape the creativity of young minds. The customary concept of classes to impart drawing skills is absent here. Rather, Nair tries to mould the creativity he believes is present in every individual. “Art is an exercise by which you can find something within yourself; it's not knowledge to impart,” he reiterates.

The paintings in the gallery facilitate visitors to see everything artistic — they may spot beauty in every weird combination of colours and strokes. The amalgamation of different styles lead to a varied understanding too. This leads to new idea generations and fresh perspectives on things around.

With twenty long years of experience as a curator in Ajman Fort and Museum, Nair has wide exposure to art forms from across the globe.

He finds traces of Indian art in Ajman art forms. Furniture, traditional equipments carry similar designs as that of Indian artefacts. “This is the biggest proof that shows India and Gulf countries had trade exchange between them,” he points out.

Exploring further into the similarities of paintings between the countries, he finds the framework of Indian paintings to be the biggest. “We have Kalamkari, Madhubani, Pahari, Rajasthani, Batik, Mughal and many such kinds of painting. In Gulf countries, the paintings are based mostly on calligraphy. But whatever the difference in art forms, every country tries to reflect their culture through art,” he added.

While the gallery welcomes technological advancements in art, Nair stresses the need to maintain the basic hand-balance of drawing, which tends to loosen up when you become dependent on computers for the generation of art forms. “The technology has helped to ease the process of sculpting. Hand works are tedious and many sculptors of the present generation do not prefer to pursue it.”

Souparnika Art Gallery has some of the prestigious exhibitions in its profile. One such was the exhibition-cum-workshop conducted at Kollur Mookambika temple in January 2012. It was organised on the birthday of the singer K.J. Yesudas. Artists from various parts of the country contributed their time and talent in the temple premises to bring out some of the admirable pictures, which are now part of the gallery.

Souparnika Art Gallery has a lot more in store. An exhibition on murals is coming up next. The gallery has plans to co-ordinate with ASARE, the home for mentally challenged children to impart a sense of colour to its citizens through chromotherapy. It is a healing method in which light, in the form of colour, is used to balance energy in the human body. This is sometimes called colour therapy. Rotary Club of Manipal is a strong supporter of the Gallery on its voyage.

This article is published in The Hindu-Metroplus, Mangalore edition on 12th May 2012.

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